Suggestion for bracketing with D800/E

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by rodeo_joe|1, May 27, 2013.

  1. There have been a few previous threads about Nikon's dumb decision to limit the step between bracketed shots on the D800/E to 1 EV. However I think I've got a simple solution that allows a 4EV bracket in just two shots. As follows:
    1) Set the Bracketing menu to Bracketing order > 0, Under, Over (N or default setting).
    2) Use the Bracket button to set 1EV steps and a 9 shot bracket sequence.
    3) Set exposure compensation to +2
    When the shots are fired, the first shot will have an exposure of +2 stops over the metered reading, and the next shot will have an exposure of -2 stops under. You can now stop firing and cancel the bracketing sequence. The first two shots should be sufficient for most HDR needs.
    The compensation and/or number of bracketed shots and EV step can be altered to give -3 and +1 EV, 0 and +4 EV, or -1 and +1EV, etc. All in just two shots.
    If this has been suggested before I apologise. I did a search on the subject and came up with no suggested workaround. It certainly seems a better idea than wasting your time taking 5 shots to get from -2 to +2 EV (during which interval the light may well have changed).
  2. Sounds like a good workaround.
    One complication however. The (uncompensated) exposure order according to the Nikon Manual would be 0, -4, -3, -2 etc.
    However according to Thom Hogan's e-book it would be 0, -1, -2, -3
    And without some experimentation, I don't know which is correct. But the Nikon manual seems more logical to me.
  3. I happened to have my D800 with me (bluebells in sunlight on my way into work), so I did a quick experiment. I'm proud of myself for working out how to set bracketing at all - at least it's not as buried as it is on the D700.

    RJ is right: the first two shots are metered + compensation, then metered + compensation -4 stops. Reassuringly (after the trap focus debacle) the manual is correct. Perhaps drop Thom a message? (He's pretty good with emails, but since I've not actually bought his e-book it probably shouldn't come from me.)

    A useful trick, anyway. I believe the D700 has the same restriction, and this workaround should work there as well. I probably should have thought of it myself! (Now I have a decent tripod and head, I should really make more use of this, so I'm grateful for the tip...)
  4. Thank you for the tip. It works quite well!
    Thom Hogan's book shows a table for the default bracketing order, not the one used for this technique.
  5. Thom Hogan's book shows a table for the default bracketing order, not the one used for this technique.​
    If you read Joe's post correctly, he specifies using the default bracketing order.
    1) Set the Bracketing menu to Bracketing order > 0, Under, Over (N or default setting).​
    And in any case the default bracketing order shown in Hogan's book and that shown in the Nikon manual are different.
    I have sent Thom a message.
  6. Andrew-
    You and I are still smarting about the "trap focus debacle".
    I have yet to find a single defense of the change (in the D800) that points out any functionality that was added by this change. It simply deletes a function that was previously available.
    I am really pissed at the stupidity of it all.
  7. Mike: I'm still hoping to join the BIOS hacking project and fix the trap focus (along with more sensible bracketing options to avoid the need for RJ's trick, fixing the live view, allowing ISO to be mapped to a button I can reach, making AF-On work after the shutter button is half pressed, and about a dozen other tweaks I'd like). Unfortunately, since I'm posting from my workplace at 11pm on a bank holiday, you can guess how much free time I have. Some day (my prints will come)...

    I'm just glad I had an hour to snap some bluebells before they all go off. If I'd actually had a tripod with me, I'd have been annoyed to learn about the bracketing trick too late!
  8. I'm not sure what's wrong with shooting -2, -1, 0, +1, +2 in fast shutter mode. I often find that one of these exposures contains so much information that HDR is not necessary. I can finalize the images with manipulation of the shadows and highlights in Lightroom. It's a testament to the D800's excellent dynamic range.
    I have used this technique to capture the interiors of cathedrals in bright sunlight. If I had not bracketed the series, I would not have been able to determine in camera which of the exposures would be best suited for single-image post processing. If you still need HDR, you have five exposures ready for blending.
    I find the bracketing controls on the D800 to be very straightforward and easy to use, by the way. If you can find the BKT button, the rest is rather intuitive.
  9. Dan, what's wrong with a 5 shot bracket is - it's a 5 shot bracket! At least two of which shots are going to be wasted space simply filling up the card and having to be deleted. The extra wear and tear on the shutter might be another consideration for heavy users of bracketing. Subject or camera movement is another issue, as is alteration of the light during the (at least) 1 whole second that a D800 takes to fire off 5 shots. Besides, if you bracket the shutter speed you're usually going to end up with a pretty slow speed after multiplying the exposure time by 16, and that stretches the bracketing interval even further. So on the whole it's better to get the extremes of the bracket in just two pops, rather than 5.
    Anyway nobody's twisting anybody's arm to use this method. It was just a suggestion to those that find Nikon's daft restriction of a 1EV step to be irksome.
  10. I find the bracketing controls on the D800 to be very straightforward and easy to use, by the way. If you can find the BKT button, the rest is rather intuitive.​
    Sorry, it was my own incompetence (as someone who almost never brackets) that I was criticising, not the D800. I did work it out without referring to the manual, though it took me a while to realise that to get a centred bracket I needed to spin the wheel the other way. The D700 is much more convoluted, and (along with manual white balance, which I very rarely use) one of the few cases where I've made use of the in-built help function.

    But I agree with RJ - two exposures ("correct"/"make sure there's shadow detail" and "rescue the highlights if I need them") are often good enough, especially with the D800's dynamic range, and needing to capture a lot of redundant images to get them is annoying. I've suggested before - to both Nikon and Canon - that an emergency secondary exposure when the main exposure has been found to clip might be a welcome feature, though ETTR would be even better.

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